tv Washington Week PBS January 22, 2010 8:00pm-8:30pm EST
♪ wen: chaos on the potomac and campaign finance limits an massachutts election a replican senator and health re on life support. and we bring ou an eyewitness report on iti. tonight on "washington week." >>let the american people decide how much ney isenough. sunshineeally does work if you allow it to. >> the roberts court has turned back the clo on our democracy by over a century. gwen: inone major decision, the supreme court rolls backdecades of campaign financ imits. quhile whi political upheaval of anoer ind rock the
capital as masachusetts voters pick rublican senar scot brown. and w much will be the 41st republican senator eaken the president's agenda? >>it is jusnice being out of washington. let say. and there are ice people in washingtonbut -- n can drive you crazy. gwen: id aftershocks and confuion, the world copes with e devastation i haiti. covering te week, john biskupic ofu.s.a. todayand john hrwood of cnbc and the "new york times" time and martha raddtz of abc news. ♪
gwen: good evening. perhaps we should he seen it coming, when the spreme court went out of its way o hear new arguments in hat was cnsidered a prty tangenthall campaign finance ase. and the citizens turned out to be a important platform for them to say that many conservatives have argued for years, money equals speech, theourt ruled. so many limits on ampaign fince ontributions ial hate the onstitution. t practically, wh does he decisi good and what doesn't it? >> asa threshold, the mny thing it ds for what isgoing to happen in 2010 eletions, is corporations cannotbe limit in the independent expnditures they do on behalf a candidate. this case, it was a move hat -- that citizen's unied
did that s a ad aganst llary clinton. it was a documtary but the court said, itis clearly do't vote gainst hillary in the presintial primary. would affe direct mail or anything that corporate money would don behalf of a candidate. it didn't touch theoft provisis that lots of viewers are used to. but theain thing here, was thator the first time, the supreme court id that -- 0 vernment, the federal gornment here, but the states also, cannot dtinguish among speakers in a political election, coorations versus individls. gwn: whenever w covered a processthey always talk aout precedent and previous judgments by the court. this court has expanded this law many times d now they're erturning themselve they went out of theay to do it. >> chief stice john roberts i iuing a separate opinion. kennedy as the ma opinion a
joined by the conservive justices. roberts who during his confirmation heang talked about how you houldn't have jolts to the sysm and you should watchp-precedent wrote separately saying u okay, i believe in judial restraint t not abdic cation. his argument was that he key rungs at issue here rom the past that had said governments couldraw hines onwhat corporate wealh came into campgns. he said ese were unworkable and you shouldn't just forthe vae of preseing precede uphold them. was a faiy self-conscis opion there and of course he got a lo of criticism already. the thing is congresshands are tied here because ths was based on theconstitutionl first amendment right of free speech. the court said gain by kennedy that there's a free market of ideas and stens said, get real politician and big moneyfrom corporions has -- has a distorting effect onthe political dscourse and cold be
corruptive. that's what ongress ound. >> i was goi to say, oe of the things the democra talked about is some way of fixing this. labor unions also arenot going to be mited. corpations play have more moneand they're concerned about that. is there no way to cure the constituonal defects of this law or procision? >>hey can't do anyhing on the consttutional issue short oaf, out passg the amendment. they could things around the margins and or example, new york senor chuck schumer and maryland u.. rep chris van holland will introde legislation at if you get the bailoutmoney, your corpotion, you needto abide by restrictions. that maybe congress would e its spendg power under the constitution toenforce various limits. bu-- in terms of the major constituonal issue, there's had the much cngress can did frankly. the states,lots of states are affect by this oo. gwen:what happens as you go forward from here?
you'r talking about the mie and you're talking about at this case was based n but what will we see in t future? who benefits >> you're talking abo federal ections later this yar. gw: that's right. >> you're taing aout the 2010 election ycle. in the states there's 19 gubernatorial races coming and many sttes, 24 states ha limits on cororate spending in elections and thesare all going to be obliterated now. >> there a few corporation hat is scerns with about the political clite. the things you are goingo see are not hillarythe mvie, y're going t see advetising on local stations. i think media utlets wil win, because tere's more corporate moy to be spent and there'll be presre to spend it. >> we can let you o without asking, give us anupdate on how evens is doing. there was discussion n how he was on the bench and whether he'lbe with the court. >> justice stevens read for
mutes. he was vy impassioned but ao has in his language. i think he's weary bout where this court has ben. he's 89. he'll turn 90in aril. when i alked to him n october about what his man might be he wa a ittle cy. he also said, i'm n the exactly a kid en: he talked abou the urt's agenda and censorship he was not checking out. >> no, is opinion was incredibly forceful and gave it to the ajority. to use he term agenda, tey te to be reserved. healked about how the only thing thatmakes thi deision different from those i1990 an 2003s the chang membership, and that's he dearture of sandr day o'cnnor. gwen: obama waived the decision. e supreme court play have turned campaign nancing on its ear,ut the good people o massachusetts probly turned
the tire 2010 election cycle upside down by voting to nd is ott brown to ashington to fill the se hong held by liberal lon ted kennedy. the voters set anunmistakable message to wahington but what was it. it depends o whoa you talk to. the minority nd majority leader see it differetly. >> they emand we work tgether as artners and in the paisans. >> i think the mjority got the meage and in more gamesmanship and in more -- no more ack of transparency. >> so if tat is no going to et, perhaps our porters can come up with awers. what dot numrs tell us, john, about why massachusetts did what it did on tueday? >> thi is a real oment of crisis for the obama presidency. and i is a moment definion, where barack ama and his demratic party have got to figu out who they are, what they'reor and what they're going totry to do an what risks they're goin to ke.
we have all known going nto 2010, it i going to be a diffict election year because e economy is bad and unemployment is hi and it is going to take a hile for th to turn aound. and that was anticipated. and i thnk what no one antipated was just how stunning this relt was going to be in masachusetts, where ted kennedy hed the seat for so long. the deocrat, the republican scott brwn won by five rcentage points in he democrat state and we had -- had subsequent liane nbc pol thatramentized reasons for th. we know independents trned athat was reflted in the vte. both inmassachusetts and nationally. but president bama's approva rating under50%. the majority of the ountry say the things in the nation ar going wro. and 83% say they're dissatised with the ecnomy. when you ask peop about support for e health care plan, it is unr water. and 33% i our poll nationally said it is a good idea. 46% said it was a bad idea. and i think whatis really tan a lot of people by surpris
foo we'reallowed ko confess err, i underestimad the amount of panic that woud resultrom the massachusetts - circumstance a -- that's what wee seeing happen right nw. gwen let's get bac to the panic. i read today a pl or survey that was takenfter the election tt showedthat -- barack obama won inependents in maachusetts by 17 points a scott brown won them 2-1. ho does this fallout affect the president's enda, especially heal care. >> you tald about pan. it wasa shock to the system throughout. the entire agenda is tued upside down. and there wasn't a decrat who dn't think there wasn' sothing that was going to be affectednd we have alrey staed to see repercussions. health care was pt totally the brakes on anlots of discussion this week about -- w to retoo it and wther to pick it apart intoieces. the first thng that speaker pelosi termined is that the easiest rout would have been n e house had taken the sena bill, the sena passed bill.
>> that's not hapning. >> she madit clear she had a practical miny on her ands fromer caucus if they pushed that direction. this was talk about uld they possibly get te main oderate senator, olympia snow would she behe 60th vote. she made itlear here was no sell thee. and now here's discuson about parcelingt into piecesand cod they do a more incemental moderate view an president obama actually urt hi own cause, because he initial lip came in before anyby had a chan to react and tarted talking about, let's find the pies to coalsce around. gwen: lt's liste to the president. was as shell shoced as everybody else. he spoke to abc news earlier in the week nd today hewas on the road in oho. >>he same thig that swept scott rown into officeswept me to office. people are angr and theye frustrated. so here's the good news. we got prety far down the rd.
d -- i have gotto had mitt, we had a little bit of a bud song thi week. >> an understatement thee was the -- gwen:there was the thoughtful tugging ohis chin, an then the tieles populist obama, ich one wins the day in the wake of a week likethis. in the immediate istance, it is the popult obama. we s last week he roposed a tax on banks. they knew this massachusetts election was gting difficult then. in fact over a cple of months he's been sort o inviting a fight with major wall stre institutions. he really invited e this week with is proposal to imit the size and scopef activiti of those large intitutions, sy, if you own a bank nd beneit from the fedral deposit guarantee an le interest loans frm the feral reserve, you can't n a hedge fund thatputs your own money at risk. that would put the enre system at risk. he's got a ight withwall street on his hands. i ink one of the ways hat the democrats will responto the
anger to surf it basically on the economand -- and go to war a little b with wall stree and i think the qestion is going to be strtegically, as alexis wastalking about on health care, do th make themsees healthier potically by turningway from health care? i'm t sure they do. it is possiblehe white house has hopehat members ill come to the realizion after this sinks i that they play be better off pasing a comprehensive bill anywayand what abo other domestic ssues thgh too. you mentioned ome economic ones. what about energy nd immigratioand other things that - >> climate ing. >> eactly. > and as we hea into 2010, there was no questn that the president's agenda s already beinpaired down before scot bwn won in massachusetts massacsetts. there was question about that. e core breeses -- piecesthat thpresident was taughting 0-- toutin was a jobs bil, pass that right away, maybe financial regulatn that seemed to be the populist kind of aveueto
pursue. then the ideaof climate change turned into is tere consensus on energy and th seemed vey remote nd immigrationreform seed to go off thescales entirely i could nofind a republican or a democrat that waed to talk about thatrealistically something that waan option for an ection year. everythinghanged. >> are the repulicans going t want to rk with the democrats. it sems the voters want people towork together. both sis to work togethe. do you expect we'll sethat. >> ow, marta? i'm optimisti. >> th is n going tohappen. 'll happen rhett torically. but it wo't happen fromeither side. that doesn't mn there won't be issues,ike with creit card rerm, when the train leaes the station so feem they have to jump on and have nochoice. i woopt count out inancial regulation, becauseit is one thing for rpublicans and the leadership ttake o the bi government democtic approach toealth care, it is another ing to stand in the way of
financial regulation en people are ngry atall street almost as mh as they're angry at waington, if not more. >> i would say afghanistan is another area tt we saw the minority lear of the senat mitch mcconnl, and wht woud yowork with the prsident o? and the only hing was ghanistan and then ben rnanke, the heaof the feral reserve, the president needthose republican votes d will have to work wh republicans. >> you mentoned job cretion, everybody saysjobs. it osts money to stimulate he enomy to create jobs and spending isupposed the bad thing. and he idn't focus enough on cost when is he taled about health care. how do you balance tse two competing neds? >> one struggle i discered this week,as -- the deocrats were reling trying to fgure out what tdo is they find the message socon fusg when they're taling abut -- to votersack home, th're trying to explain to votersthemselves, look, the two thgs you're talking about are ot necessarily consistent.
i think at we're going to ee in the new whatever jos package this turned out tobe, even in e budget, uch less mphasis on sending. more intert in tax cs and lo of interest in small business and you can't spend a whe year on that. and so, ths idea of turnin to jobs in he economy an it is great, exce that doesn't fill ahole year, except maybe oing home to campaign. >> asalexis is alludingto, some voters ar angry and not herent. this question about robs, if you're creatg jobs quickly you needto sped money and it is eithe in tax cuts o direct spending. there's a ontradiction. th makes the congssmen earn e big bucks. >> how are they expected tbacco hert, when their elected lawmakers are fraking out like now. you're right. and alex referred to the ben beanke nomination. most members of cogress, if you got them privately dgave them
truth serum and took them away from the cmera, would tell ou ben bernae saved the economy from the deprsion and the creativitand the skill he exhited in working first with the bush adminiration and then with the oba administration, anyet he finds himself as the lightni rod as thetarget for the anger. my belf is at the end of t day, he wll get the votes because members some point, they're going toave a moment ere they say, are we really going to take himdown und this pressure, at is going to happen to the stock market ten? what is goi to happen to market confidence and the economy? i think that's the qstion. >> back tomassachusetts for a ment. what did he win? was it becuse scott rown won a natural campaign or democrat martha coakl or did it have nothing to do with nything they could haveone? >> think it is ay oo reductionist toay it is just because she'sa lousy candidate. there a national mood of uneae and concern about the econic future.
people's health ca is geting cut and their urs are cut. uneloyment is 10% and all of that was exhbited in --in new jersey, and invirginia and in the -- in te off year elctions last move noveber. it showed up in mssachusetts and it is really showing u around the country. that's whmembers are so anxious. >> it showing up in ipping point dstricts. i wouldsay that any member incumbt who is up for re-eletion this year, replican or democrat but stly the democrats should b very ccerned about tis outsider phenomena, te tea pay group initative, vement, whatever thatis throh -- threw just millions in the campaign a independents are moving aw from the party in power. so nyone who is the estaishment candidate should be very worried. >> and here's a good number f members of congres whose political careersave about 10 machines to go. >> that's right. wel be wtching them. d now to the other issuewe been following, 10 days afte an earthquake flattened pt-au-prince, its cthedral
and schools andospitals left hundreds of thousands dead and injured and homeless, the aershocks are still bein felt. martha is just back. w did you see when yowere there taveling? howid it compare to -- e you coered pretty awful stries. how did it cmpare? >> i have to say the one thing and iave been thinking abt this sin i got back a lot sometim when you're there,ou can't think about it. butwhat happened i haiti ws so mssive, the scop of it s like nothing i haveever seen. en you're covering a war, thers a terrible event, or thers a bomb that goes of herer a bomb that goes off there. when ou trove around it was crushed buildingafter crush builng, collapsed buildg, bodies in e streets. every single strt yo went to somethig horrible had hapened. d the moment that - was brought home to me is abo three days after thethe earthqke, i was driving around with --e with abc's medical
editor, dr. richard besser and he's a physicia i said dr. beser the thing that breaks my heart looking at the buildin and how many dead peope are in those buildings andr. besser said what breaks my hea is how man live people are in those uildings. and i hadn't reallyhought about tht. you ar about the periodi rescues bueven today, thy found someone ive. >> they did. >> ther was so little help quickly. iis almost as i you heard voiceas you were diving around. >> marha, they're talking about setting up aent city, have y -- what,what will tat do and h long can that be solution? could you tell whther there cod be any kind of rebuilding ofhe capital down the road >> i -- it i s massive that you -- ort-au-prince is basically justdestroyed. i an someone said what percentage a i think probably 50% and pobably the oher -- another 30needs to me down. the tent cities, ou're taling
about. they're talking out building four differentmassive cams with tnts and move 400,000 people out. >> think they he to do it. i mean, you cannot possibly rebuild that city or make that >> people livinghere. >> you n't drive owna street without concrete faling. there'so many buildings tha need to come own. it is such delicate work, really. and you put a bulldozer n this and you have o make sure hat what is flex to you s not falling down. weere in a warehouse, one day where ey were packing u food to deliver an -- the wole side of the all was already cracked. hile we were there, thee was a etty significant aftershock. in fact i was tting outside a i thought it was the wall crumbling and irealized it was an aftershock a it did not crumble. everywhereou go, it is danrous, they have o get the people out. >> there are my countries there th lots of support an -- and how are the haitis reacting to the u.s.involvement or the militypresence or the
televisioncrews? >> any coordination at ll? >> first of al, the haitian people were fantaic. i mean, just -- ou couldn't believe the rsiliency of the people. ter all they have sufred through, ty were out singing in the stree, even days and ys laer, in these horrid squalor, living intrash and trying to stay cean and doing whatever they could. there s a day that -- that presideial pal hass which is basically llapsed as wll. the 82nd irborne, aout 100 ldiers from the 82ndairborne laed at the presidntial pala. the ige of this of hell complainters landing at palace and pele yelling. i had no idea what they were yelling i got our tanslator and they wersaying, yeah, america is taking oer, viv va merica. that shws pretty much, they wantmerica to come in and ou meioned the coodination, it is still unclsure to me ho is completelrunning the show. those first couple of ds were
absolutely chao >> the haiti governmen is meeting otdoors. >> right. and don't know were the haitian govement has been in all of thiswhich is one of he reasons that the haitian were cited to see th americans. >>realizing how chaotic and the vast scale, how doyou evaluat how effecvely th -- th u.s. frses and ther forces who are ere are ding at stribting aid and at doi whatever they c to make the situationbetter. john, it is sh a complicated press. is heartbreaking i that sense because yo-- you want people to just rh in this and get that aidout. in mny ways you can't do that. people a me a lot, why dont they drop food in the city. they're doing air drps outside the city, with arachutes ad food outside thecity. t in the city, you just can't do it. you'll kill people. i saw oneday, it is th singe licopter go down near usand i followed itnd it looked le it was gng to land.
it was massive a it couldn't land, it droppedthe food out. it is the las time that happened andit was a u.s. helicopter. i was surprised. >> because of the stamede. >> sampede. >> and martha, thnk you for gog and covering it. thank youor coming home and telling us aboutt. that's it for onight. thank youeveryone. the ws just eeps coming and it doesn't look like it is slowing down. ne week the state of the nion address. we'll have full coverage on the pbs news hour anwrap it up again here, nextweek on "washington week." good nide -- good night.